Fresno Mayor's budget assumes Measure G passes

FRESNO, California

Mayor Ashley Swearengin is assuming voters will approve Measure G. She also hopes to win more concessions from employees. She figures the combination will bring in $6 million.

"First of all it is balanced, second it stops the bleeding on public safety cuts." She told Action News.

Swearengin will present her budget to the City Council this week.

Council Member Oliver Baines agrees the city needs revenues, but doesn't think Measure G will make any difference.

Baines explained, "We need to be honest with our citizens and let them know we are not providing the level of service we need to and this Measure G is not going to get us there."

And City Council Member Blong Xiong believes the city is on the mend, without Measure G.

Blong Xiong said, "The economy has changed, we've got property taxes coming in higher, sales taxes coming in higher our RDA money is coming in higher, and we just need to be a little more prudent over the next couple of years."

But the Mayor says Measure G can help now.

"If Measure G passes we can get Fresno off the bankruptcy watch list," said Swearengin. "If it doesn't pass it doesn't guarantee we will go down that path."

City employee unions have been the harshest critics of Measure G since it will cost workers their jobs with the city.

Marina Magdellano, who represents the sanitation workers, was alarmed when the city issued a press release announcing a new department head had been hired for $155 thousand a year.

Magdellano explained, "They are continuing to say that they are broke, they are continuing to say all of these things, yet they continue to spend money like they weren't broke."

Mayor Swearengin says the city hired a new director of the city's Development and Resource Department because the position is badly needed to relieve the burden on city manager Mark Scott who had been doing the job in addition to his other duties.

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide the fate of Measure G.

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